I’ve not seen sex like this on TV before. There’s no glossy filter. It’s not sanitised. They have a cup of tea before. They have some awkward small talk. They fumble, and laugh, and talk. It’s not fireworks, a bra perfectly falling off, a bottle of champagne open. But just because it isn’t ‘Hollywood’ romantic doesn’t mean it isn’t romantic.
As the series continues, as does their sex life - a perfect illustration of how growing up, and finding yourself, means your tastes change. Marianne, around the age of 21, develops an interest in BDSM. The physicality of their sex changes, but the dialogue never does - it is always judgment-free, and sensitive. Every sex scene in Normal People was guided by an “intimacy coordinator”, Ita O’Brien, to make sure the actors were comfortable - that level of care, on set, shows on screen. O’Brien told The Guardian “It was crucial for me to honour Sally’s writing. There is nothing gratuitous. But there is also a lot of sex.”
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